Federal, state governments agree on data sharing

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 13 July, 2021

Federal, state governments agree on data sharing

The federal, state and territory governments have signed a joint intergovernmental agreement committing to share public sector data by default.

Under the agreement, which came into effect on Friday, federal and state government agencies will be compelled to share data as a default position where it can be done securely, safely, lawfully and ethically.

Data will be shared in accordance with established privacy standards, and all governments have committed to improving data sharing processes and practices between jurisdictions.

Portfolio Ministers will retain responsibility for data sharing activities within their portfolio responsibilities, and will collaborate with their jurisdiction’s Data and Digital Ministers to identify and progress national priority data areas.

According to the agreement, data will be shared in the public interest, for the purposes of informing policy decisions; designing, delivering, and evaluating programs; tracking implementation; and improving service delivery outcomes.

All parties have agreed to apply the Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC) Best Practice Guide to Applying Data Sharing Principles, based on the Five Safes Framework disclosure risk management approach.

These principles are:

a) Project — Data is shared for an appropriate purpose that delivers a public benefit.

b) People — The user has the appropriate authority to access the data.

c) Settings — The environment in which the data is shared minimises the risk of unauthorised use or disclosure.

d) Data — Appropriate and proportionate protections are applied to the data.

e) Outputs — The output from the data sharing arrangement is appropriately safeguarded before further sharing or release.

The agreement also lays out examples of legitimate reasons to decline a data request, including where that request would contravene a law such as a privacy or data protection obligation, or be likely to endanger an individual’s health, safety or wellbeing.

Image credit: ©Nmedia/Dollar Photo Club

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